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Report: Rovers 2-4 Reading

Adam Armstrong recorded a second successive brace but it's not enough to take anything against the table-topping Royals

27 October 2020

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Adam Armstrong scored a brace for the second successive game, but it wasn't enough as Reading continued their charge at the top of the table with victory at Ewood Park.

Veljko Paunovic's side went ahead inside the opening minute when Yakou Meite tapped home after the ball bounced kindly for the visitors following a long punt upfield from kick-off.

Rovers recovered and Armstrong swept home two minutes later to level things up in the East Lancashire drizzle before Reading hit back with two quickfire strikes.

The first came via Michael Olise, who raced clear of the Rovers backline to calmly slot into the corner, before Josh Laurent pinpoint striked clipped the post before finding the net.

Rovers responded in the second half through Armstrong perfect header, but Rovers old boy Lucas Joao killed off any hopes of a home comeback when he slotted home late on.

The boss made two changes to his side for the test against the Berkshire side, with Aynsley Pears making his debut in place of the injured Thomas Kaminski in goal.

Elsewhere, Corry Evans returned to the side after being an unused substitute against Coventry City at the weekend, with the Northern Ireland international coming in for Bradley Johnson.

It took just nine seconds for the visitors to fortunately take the lead through Meite's close range finish.

The punt forward from kick-off came off the heel of Barry Douglas, bounced kindly for former Rovers loanee Joao, and the Portugues's flick allowed Meite to slide home with Pears stranded.

The response from Rovers was impressive and instant, with Armstrong sweeping home expertly for his eighth of the season following Harvey Elliott's precise cross into the box from the right.

Rovers' tails were up, and Lewis Holtby fired wide of the target after more patient build up play from the hosts.

But at the other end Reading re-took the lead through Olise's smart finish into the bottom corner. The midfielder raced through on goal, and despite having Meite as an option to his right, went alone, skipped past the challenge of Derrick Williams and found the net.

Worse was to come when Omar Richards' low cross was poked clear as far as Laurent, and he bent an effort around everyone and in via Pears' left-hand post.

Rovers looked for a route back into the encounter with five minutes of the half remaining, but Armstrong could only head straight at Cabral after Ben Brereton nodded Joe Rankin-Costello's cross back into a dangerous area.

Rovers went into the break down but not out, and could have pulled a goal back early into the second half, but Douglas' tantalising cross was prodded just wide by a stretching Armstrong at the back post.

But Armstrong wasn't to be denied is second of the night though, and he brilliantly glanced home Rankin-Costello's pinpoint cross from the right to get Rovers back in business on home turf with 25 minutes remaining.

A superb fingertip save from Pears stopped Williams from scoring an own goal after the Republic of Ireland internatonal attempted to prevent Joao from getting on the end of an Olise cross with time ticking away.

At the other end, a Holtby curler was destined to arc into the corner, but Cabral was there to paw away the German's effort.

But the suckerpunch came on the counter just moments later as Joao raced clear before curling into the corner to wrap the points up for the visitors.

There was a late chance to come for Rovers, but Cabral was in the right place to claw away Armstrong's close range flick after an inviting cross in from substitute Tyrhys Dolan as the Royals returned home with all three points.

Rovers: Pears, Rankin-Costello, Lenihan (c), Williams, Douglas, Trybull, Holtby (Dolan, 81), Evans (Gallagher, 62), Elliott, Armstrong, Brereton (Buckley, 81).

Unused substitutes: Stergiakis, Nyambe, Davenport, Wharton.

Goals: Armstrong, 4, 66.

Booked: Holtby, 5, Trybull, 20.

Reading: Rafael, Esteves, Richards, Morrison, Moore (c), Olise, Rinomhota, Meite (Aluko, 73), Joao (McIntyre, 85), Laurent, Semedo.

Unused substitutes: Walker, Gibson, Tetek, Watson, Puscas.

Goals: Meite, 2, Olise, 15, Laurent, 18, Joao, 83.

Booked: Cabral, 76, Joao, 79

Referee: David Coote.

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